John 15:13 – Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (NIV)
At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we stand in silence to remember. We wear the poppies to help us to remember and to help honour those who gave their lives for us, for our freedom.
Isaiah 49:15-16 – Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (NIV)
When I first read this verse from Isaiah, I wondered how a mother or a parent could ever forget their child — but it happens. Could we really forget the sacrifice of lives through war? Yes, it could happen. That is why we have to take time to stop and remember.
Because I work with people who can't remember — people who have Alzheimer's — I don't take remembering for granted any more. I have been amazed at times to see what my friends who have Alzheimer's remember. They remember their parents, they remember the war and most of them remember their family. And those who lived through the war remember it as if it were yesterday.
When I went in to work on September 11, just about every resident was watching in horror as the events were unfolding of the terrorism against America. As I watched with them and saw their reaction, I could also see the horror of another time. They knew very well what all of this meant and they were scared.
During these difficult times, I find comfort in the words from Isaiah. He assures us that God will not forget us. We are engraved on the palms of His hands. Whatever the difficulty, whatever the fears we have, we are to know that God is with us.
I have had days when I have come home from my work wondering what it is that I could possibly give to these residents. During those times of soul-searching, I have come to realize that my task is no different from the task we all share. We are called to bring to each other the message that God is here, that God has not forgotten us. Do you know someone who needs to hear that message today?
Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for being with us. We thank you that, in everything, you do not forget us. As we remember those who died for us, help us never to forget the sacrifice that they have made. Lord, we remember those who can't remember anymore and we pray for them and their families, that they will know that you have not forgotten them. We pray for your peace, the peace that passes all understanding, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.